With June being Men’s Health Month, we thought it was only appropriate that we take a look at some of the most effective ways to keep men healthy. Specifically, we wanted to take a look at the eleven most essential blood tests for any man to have in order to ensure that they’re as healthy as they can be.
Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
These two affordable blood tests are the best place to begin for your proactive health program. A complete blood count, otherwise known as a CBC, is a comprehensive blood test that measures your blood cell count, including white and red blood cells. In addition, the CBC can accurately measure how well your blood cells carry oxygen. While this information is a vital foundation for further studies from your doctor, it’s especially important for men that might be at risk of anemia. If you’re routinely short of breath while exercising, a CBC might be necessary. The comprehensive metabolic panel typically includes 14 tests that gives the status of a person’s overall health including a person’s liver, kidneys, blood sugar, blood proteins and electrolyte and acid/base balance.
Fibrinogen levels increase in response to tissue inflammation. Fibrinogen levels can help predict the risk of heart disease and stroke. High levels are not only associated with an increased risk of heart attack but with other inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation of the kidney.
This test measures a person’s blood sugar control and is one of the best ways to determine a person’s glucose status. It is an independent predictor of heart disease risk in persons with or without diabetes. While this test alone won’t necessarily pinpoint if you have diabetes, they’re another useful tool for doctors to then plan future tests around.
DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Healthy levels of DHEA support immune function, bone density, mood, libido and healthy body composition.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland in men. Elevated levels may indicate an enlarged prostate, prostate inflammation or prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends annual PSA testing for men beginning at age 50. Elevated levels of PSA don’t necessarily signal prostate cancer, however. Elevated levels can occur due to a urinary tract infection or an inflamed prostate as well.
High homocysteine levels have been associated with increased risk of heart attack, bone fracture and poor cognitive function and have recently been linked to other disorders. A homocysteine test may help determine if a person has a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency or ordered as part of a screen for people at high risk for heart attack and stroke.
C-Reactive Protein Test
The CRP test is one of the few ways that doctors can test for inflamed arteries, making this test invaluable for patients that are at a high risk of heart attack. CRP has emerged as a powerful predictor of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test
While it’s not discussed as frequently as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, an overactive thyroid can still be incredibly damaging to your health. The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) controls thyroid hormone secretion in the thyroid. When blood levels fall below normal levels, it may indicate hyperthyroidism (increased activity) or when levels are above normal it may indicate hypothyroidism (low activity). A thyroid with increased activity may be associated with symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, nervousness, insomnia, shortness of breath among others. Decreased activity may be associated with symptoms like fatigue, depression, weight gain, dry skin and other symptoms.
In men, testosterone levels normally decline with age. Low levels of testosterone are associated with health conditions like diminished libido, loss of muscle tone, depression, diabetes, abdominal fat, and low bone density. In men, free testosterone levels may be used to evaluate whether sufficient bioactive testosterone is available to protect against abdominal obesity, mental depression, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
Estradiol is the primary circulating form of estrogen in men and women, and is an indicator of hypothalamic and pituitary function. In men, a small amount is produced by the testes. Estradiol levels are found to be positively associated with bone mineral density and in older men, low levels of estradiol have been linked with an increased risk of vertebral fractures.
Lipid Panel (Cholesterol)
A lipid profile is a panel that measures lipids which are fats and fatty substances which is a source of energy for your body. Lipids include triglycerides, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). With this blood test, doctors can measure how much “good” and “bad” cholesterol is currently in your body. So, if you’re concerned about your cholesterol, then a lipid panel might be the way to go.
Many diseases are treatable when caught early. Yearly blood testing is a simple and affordable way to be proactive with your health and even more powerful when combined with the proper nutrition, exercise and supplements. The right combination of blood tests will determine your overall health status. Take advantage of our 10% off all men’s blood tests during Men’s Health Month to obtain knowledge about your current health. Most tests start at just $45.00 and most results are available within 3 business days. No insurance required and no doctor’s order required. Walk-ins welcome or by appointment. Hablamos Espanol. Learn more about available tests here.
Life Extension Magazine, 10 Most Important Blood Tests, May 2006
Men’s Health Magazine, 6 Essential Blood Tests You Should Have, January 2016